70% of Americans turning 65 will need Long-Term Care

Correction: The title of our newsletter is incorrect. It should be “One in seven adults will have a disability for more than five years.” We  apologize for this error!


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A new federal issue brief, compiled by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), was released following the White House Conference on Aging. The research shows that most Americans underestimate the risk of developing a disability and needing long-term services and supports (LTSS). According to the ASPE brief, one in seven adults will have a disability for more than five years and, on average, an American turning 65 today will incur $266,000 in future LTSS costs.


Misconceptions about Long-Term Care
Some of the more common misconceptions about long-term care include believing Medicare will cover the costs, that owning long-term care insurance is the same as having a comprehensive long-term care plan, and that family members will take care of you/know your preferences when the time comes. Below is clarification for these common misconceptions:


Medicare Doesn’t Cover Long-Term Care: One of the major limitations with Medicare and private health insurance (including Medicare supplement policies) is that it does not provide any benefits for long-term care (defined as care needed in excess of 100 days). For shorter stays in a nursing home (typically for rehab or acute medical conditions), Medicare may cover the cost which is why some people mistakenly assume that Medicare also pays for longer stays in a nursing home.


Long-Term Care Insurance May Not Be Your Best Solution:  People used to buy long-term-care insurance because they were scared. Now it is the policies themselves that are making buyers nervous, and rightfully so. The coverage—which is intended to pay for some or all of the costs of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and home health care for people unable to take care of themselves—has been coming under fire. Premiums have been rising and fewer insurers are selling the product.


Also, just because you have long-term care insurance, does not mean you have a plan for how long-term care will be delivered. Most policies sold today only cover a limited amount of care so thought needs to be given to what happens if an insurance policy is exhausted.


If you have done your research and decide long-term care insurance is right for you and your family, you should incorporate it as part of your long-term care plan, not as the only form of planning for long-term care.  Keep in mind that there are dozens of long-term care asset protection strategies other than long-term care insurance.


Family members may not be able to take care of you or know your preferences Unpaid family members are the most common source of long-term care help. But, they may not be able to provide all the care you need, or be there every hour of the day. As part of your long-term care strategy, look into caregiving services in your area, including in-home care providers, elder daycare centers, and PACE programs. How can you choose the right service provider for your needs? If you live in Northern Virginia, be sure to check out the Trusted Referrals listed on our website.


In addition, what if you are unable to communicate to your loved ones what you want and need? What if you are no longer of sound mind? Thought needs to be given to what your preferences are for how care will be delivered, in advance. Will it be at home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home? Of course, you cannot predict the exact outcome of your long-term care needs, but you can start a discussion now with the people who might be involved in helping to coordinate your care needs in the future, and include your preferences in your planning documents.


Read more misconceptions and myths in our Five Myths about Long Term Care Planning blog post.


Medicaid Planning
Medicaid planning can be started while you are still able to make legal and financial decisions, or can be initiated by an adult child acting as agent under a properly-drafted Power of Attorney, even if you are already in a nursing home or receiving other long-term care.  In fact, the majority of our Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection clients come to us when nursing home care is already in place or is imminent. It is never too late to begin the process of  Long-term Care Planning, also called Lifecare Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection Planning.


If you are still healthy and not yet on the “long-term care continuum,” then instead of Life Care Planning and Medicaid Asset Protection Planning you should consider our Living Trust Plus Asset Protection Trust (LTP), which is a simpler and less expensive method of asset protection for clients who will most likely not need any long-term care for at least five years. For most Americans, the Living Trust Plus™ is the preferable form of asset protection trust because, for purposes of Medicaid eligibility, this type of trust is the only type of self-settled asset protection trust that allows a settlor to retain an interest in the trust while also protecting the assets from being counted by state Medicaid agencies. For more details, you can learn more about LTP on our website and consider attending one of our upcoming LTP seminars.


Planning for long-term care will not eliminate your risk of needing it, but it enables you to sort options and make smarter decisions ahead of time. As a result, you’ll have the peace of mind that no matter what happens, you will know what to do as a family. If you or your loved ones have not done Long-Term Care Planning, please call us as soon as possible to make an appointment for a consultation:


Fairfax Elder Law: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Elder Law: 540-479-1435
Rockville Elder Law: 301-519-8041
DC Elder Law: 202-587-2797
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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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